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How to Handle Property Damage as a Landlord

Discover how to deal with one of the most common problems as a landlord.

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Photo by 472301 on Pixabay

What is a good tenant? One that keeps the garden in great condition, or someone who doesn’t mark the floors or benches? Whatever your definition of a good tenant may be, there is no denying that properties don’t stay new forever. Even with the greatest tenants, damage (general wear and tear) is likely to occur.

However, damage can cause friction between tenants and landlords. What constitutes general wear and tear seems to be a very grey area. That means it can be extremely difficult to decipher what damage is whose responsibility.

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just malicious tenants who can cause property damage. Accidental damage, however, is a very real thing. Here is what you need to know about handling property damage as a landlord.

Accidental vs Malicious Damage

Understanding the difference between accidental and malicious damage is very important. That way, you can prevent misunderstandings between you and your tenant.

Accidental damage, for example, is caused by an unexpected or sudden event such as:

  • A broken window
  • Red wine spilled on the carpet
  • Flooring scratches

The main difference between accidental and malicious damage is when the property is subject to destruction by a tenant out of spite. Malicious damage includes:

  • Holes punched in walls
  • Doors that were kicked in
  • Pulled up carpets

Currently, accidental damage rates are increasing, however malicious damage is far more extensive than accidental damage and will likely spread over several rooms. It can accompany claims for loss of rental income due to the time it takes to repair the damage.

Other Damage to Be Aware Of

Every rental contract should include specific requirements that the tenant must abide by. That is when deliberate damage comes in. Deliberate damage is an act that will alter the current state of a specific item. However, the act is not carried out with spite.

For example, deliberate damage is putting picture hooks into walls without permission. While it isn’t malicious, it is a deliberate action to make a house more of a home. The same applies when tenants paint walls without asking, rip up flooring, or make permanent changes. 

Sometimes, accidental damage can lead to insurance claims stemming from fire, smoke, wind, water, hurricane, storm, and roof damage. These aren’t the tenant’s fault, and you will need to seek help from a property damage attorney.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is a Florida personal injury firm that can help with major property damage claims. They say that insurance companies are not eager to pay damage claims, so you may need to hire an attorney with a proven success rate of getting compensation from big carriers like State Farm, Allstate, Geico, etc.

If your rental property is in Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, or Georgia, we recommend calling Sibley Dolman Gipe, a property damage law firm with a proven track record.

How can landlords reduce property damage?

By scheduling regular property inspections, landlords are more likely to uncover any property damage. They can also rectify any issues before they become larger problems. Schedule regular inspections for homes with pets or children, as damage is far more likely to occur in these units.

With more individuals now exploring their options and getting into the world of real estate and being a landlord, it’s important to understand how to address and act on different problems that may arise through the process. Hopefully this article has provided you with the necessary details and insight on how to properly address any potential damage to your home or rental property, while also making you a better landlord in the process.

For more resource guides and valuable information like we’ve provided in this article above, be sure to check back often as new content is added daily.


Written by Kristel Staci

Kristel Staci is an entrepreneur and freelance writer that focuses on everything related to social media, online marketing and finance. To see what Kristel is currently working on, you can visit her blog at

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